The forecast for this winter calls for some ice in the city on Denison. Officials this week confirmed that Denison plans to bring ice skating back to Main Street this year when Denison on Ice returns for its fifth year.


The annual festival, which will run from Nov. 21 through Jan. 3, will see the city set up and operate an outdoor ice skating rink and other activities in downtown just in time for the Christmas season.


"Our plans right now are that we are going to have the ice rink for the fifth season," Denison Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Kimberly Bowen said. "We have just really kicked our planning session and discussing what that will look like amid our public health crisis we have going on right now."


For this year’s festival, organizers are putting in place several changes, including some aimed at promoting social distancing and sanitation during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Normally, the event has started each year on Black Friday. However, 2020 festivities will start on Nov. 21, giving skaters an additional five days to enjoy the amenities.


The rink will also be adjusting its operating hours to allow more time for skaters. Current plans calls for the rink to remain open from 1-9 p.m. each day.


With the ongoing pandemic, Bowen said organizers are considering adjusting the location of the rink to allow more space in the staging area. Additionally, crews will work to sanitize touch surfaces each hour.


With the size of the rink itself, Bowen said she believes that social distancing will be possible, with a capacity for 120 skaters.


"With that maximum capacity that still leaves a distance of about nine feet between participants, so it still allows for social distancing," she said.


Bowen said the rink may be modified this year to allow for an additional entrance or exit. This will allow organizers to separate people entering and exiting the rink and avoid congestion.


While the project is still in its early stages, Bowen said she expects to have more information and plans in the coming weeks.


Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at mhutchins@heralddemocrat.com.